The past few weeks, it has been deeply on my heart to consider how I can shine a light into the brokenness of the world and to the unbelievers around me. I've found myself comfortable and almost stagnant as I surround myself with Christians and haven't really stepped out to spread God's love.
I feel as though I've hidden my lamp under a bowl and that bowl has been disguised as what we call "the church".
I've spent a lot of my life dealing with immense brokenness, tragedy, trauma, anxiety and pain. And when I moved to where I am now, I relished the safety and beauty of the loving church and family surrounding me. It allowed for healing and it allowed for renewal. But ultimately it has led me to a place of comfort and stability and I've found myself getting get stuck there.
But time and time again, God is reminding me that He has made me the light of this world in Him. And this light needs to be placed on a stand to shine before others.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:14-16
So as I step back, I want to encourage you to step back as well. Take a look at your life and consider how you may be hiding the light that God has placed within you to shine to the world around you.
Do you feel there are things that are smothering its glow? Or ways in which you are covering it up?
The world needs this light now more than ever. There are so many people searching for worth and hope and understanding and we have the answers in Christ. God's Word is filled with the answers to these questions. Answers that I only found years ago myself.
These answers of hope and love pulled me from the pit of despair that I was in and transformed me. Without the salvation and love of Christ, I shudder at the thought of where I would be now, hopeless & wandering.
There are so many around us who are in that broken and hurting place. And we are called to be a light.
So let's talk about some ways that we can do this because it's not easy to step out and into the brokenness. It's not easy to get our hands "messy" and carry another's burdens. But we have something that others don't. We are fueled by the overflowing love and hope that Christ fills us with each day.
The first thing I will encourage you to do is begin praying a prayer of surrender daily. Give your desires and hopes to the Lord and ask His will to enter into your heart. Surrender the things you hold close, the things you struggle with and the desires of your heart. When we do this, we create an openness for His will to be done. And we step into His blessing.
So let’s take a look at how we can shine the light of Christ into the world.
A Call to Be A Servant
Christ calls us to be a servant. To humbly help those in need and serve those who are struggling. This is one of the most powerful ways that we can shine a light.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’...“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Matthew 25:35-36, 40
It’s easy to get caught up in our routines and miss out on those of this world who are in need of something to eat, thirsty, in prison, needing clothes or to be invited in. These are the people who need the hope and healing hand of Christ.
And we can shine that light in very practical ways. How can you step out into your community or open your doors to invite others in.
I love how Matt Chandler says it, (paraphrasing here) but he says, “We need to have open doors and to be hospitable. We want people outside the faith to be so confused in their negative thoughts towards Christians, thinking that guy’s a bigot but he keeps inviting me over, or he is so cruel, but he keeps giving me gifts.”
So many who are hurting and outside the faith view Christians, not as a light of love, but as a light of judgment or condemnation. Our humble and servant actions will confuse them. And this will make them stop and think twice about the hope that we have.
Are your actions ones that are so service-oriented and filled with love that those outside the faith begin to question what you have?
Let’s make it practical. We don’t have to do “all of the above” in just one day. Find one way that you can serve the broken, hurting or needy around you this week. Step out in one way and watch God shine a light.
A Real Look at Evangelizing
This leads me to the idea of evangelizing. So many people view this as the - walking the streets and handing out tracks kind of thing. But evangelizing is so much more than that. It is something that we can do each and every day by letting our light shine before others.
As you grow in your faith and deepen your relationship with the Lord, you will be learning to share that faith.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
As we step out and serve those around us with a servant's heart, offering hospitality and love, people will begin to wonder what is motivating us. They will see the light and begin to wonder what it is. And this is our opportunity to share our hope we have in Christ.
Sometimes, evangelizing looks like taking the bold step in sharing your faith or asking about another's faith on the spot. But many times, it is the relationships that we built with those who are hurting or lost that leads to the opportunity for us to share the hope we have in words.
We are all called to share this hope. As scary as that may be (for myself included) that means that each and every one of you is called to evangelize.
But don’t let that scare you. There is so much blessing and joy that God will fill us with as we obey Him and shine our light.
Fuel Up for the Journey
Sharing God’s magnificent love and glory is not something we can do on our own. Even in our best efforts, we will fall embarrassingly short!
So it is essential to spend time with the Lord, fueling up for this mission. It is Christ in you and the Holy Spirit that shines the light. As we learn to listen to and abide by the Spirit, that light will shine even brighter.
This should take a large weight off your shoulders. It is nothing that you can do or nothing that you can say that will shine the light of Christ. It is simply the willingness to go and the obedience to Christ that will shine this light.
I find that spending time in prayer, surrendering my heart and focusing on all the things I am grateful for while filling myself with God’s word is what fuels me.
How do you fuel up for this journey of shining a light into the broken world?